WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Russ Fulcher (ID-01) led a group of 26 House Members to send a letter to President Biden regarding a potential vaccine passport program. The letter raises specific concerns about the personal privacy and travel implications of vaccine passports, and asks a series of questions to further clarify many of these concerns.
The members explained, “We write to express our concern regarding recent reports that your Administration is working on a “vaccine passport” program . The report entails a process that may endanger our constituent’s data privacy, as well as potential violations to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA).”
Dr. Fauci has discussed the issue several times, most recently stating the federal government’s involvement would be from a regulatory position, "I doubt that the federal government will be the main mover of a vaccine passport concept, they may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably, but I doubt if the federal government is going to be the leading element of that." Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki supported Dr. Fauci’s message of deferring vaccine passport requirements to the private sector.
These general statements incited several concerns and questions from the 26 signing members of the letter to President Biden.
Specific questions include the following:
1. What type of travel restrictions will the Administration put on American citizens to travel internationally if they don’t receive a Covid-19 vaccination or want to disclose their vaccination records?
2. How would Covid-19 travel restrictions conflict with Covid-19 testing restrictions that are already in place?
3. How would these restrictions affect pregnant citizens who opt out of Covid-19 vaccinations or citizens who may have severe reactions to vaccinations?
4. Which companies has the Administration contacted regarding vaccination apps?
5. Would these companies have to comply with HIPPA and how will they safely and securely comply with all applicable Federal and State laws?
6. Would these companies own the data and health records? And will they be restricted from profiting or compiling records that could endanger our constituent’s privacy?
Read the full letter and list of signers here.
Many of the members involved issued additional statements on the issue:
Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-17) commented, “The United States has laws in place that grant citizens freedom in their personal healthcare. Moreover, Americans have a right to private and protected healthcare information. The COVID-19 vaccine should remain voluntary without fear of public shame or restriction to normal life activities. We should not allow big tech companies to further invade private data nor allow government overreach."
Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03) commented, “A potential mandate on “vaccine passports” is a radical threat to both the personal liberty and medical privacy of American citizens and I will do everything in my power to fight against it. This is a dangerous approach by the Biden Administration to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and my fellow freedom fighters in Congress and I urge the President to draw back on any plans to move forward with this program immediately.”
Congressman Bill Posey (FL-08) commented, “Vaccine passports, largely advocated by those living in the Washington economic bubble, would shift our approach on COVID from mitigating the spread to zero-risk, increasing the barriers to recovery for Americans already hard-hit by the pandemic. This draconian approach is an invasion of health privacy which would kill job and business recovery particularly in tourism and cruising. Florida Governor, Ron Desantis, was right to issue an executive order to stop vaccine passports in Florida and any such initiative should be abandoned.”
Congressman Buddy Carter (GA-01) commented, “As a health care professional and a participant in a COVID-19 vaccine trial, I encourage all Americans to get a COVID vaccine. However, I absolutely do not support a mandatory vaccination or the use of vaccine passports. Americans must have the freedom to choose what is best for their health and the health of their families. Requiring a vaccine passport not only violates these individual freedoms, it also puts personal health information at risk. The federal government should be focused on ensuring all Americans who want a vaccine are able to get one instead of working to place vaccine requirements on our citizens.”
Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-02) commented, “The government should not create a vaccine passport for Americans to travel. The idea of limiting travel and freedoms is completely un-American. Throughout our history people have come to America to enjoy living in freedom, not another oppressive big government controlling our lives and movements. For example, my mother fled communist Cuba where Big Brother is always watching. We must never let that happen in America.”
Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07) commented, “An individual’s decision to choose to take a new vaccine — or not to take a new vaccine — should be an individual’s choice alone and not strong-armed or mandated by the federal government. At a minimum, before any type of “vaccine passport” is rolled out by the Biden Administration, important questions regarding patient privacy and individual freedoms deserve to be answered and scrutinized.”
Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-05) commented, “Vaccine passports aren’t about containing the virus; they’re a dangerous power play by the far left, who despise the idea of self-responsibility,” says Congressman Andy Biggs. “The Democrats’ fear-mongering tactics will not stand, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that Americans keep the God-given freedoms this country was founded on.”
Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) commented, “Requiring Americans to provide ‘vaccine passports’ before partaking in everyday activities violates both patient privacy and individual freedoms,” said Reschenthaler. “Further, calling on Big Tech to track this data recklessly rewards and empowers companies with dubious records on protecting Americans’ personal information and free speech. I am grateful to Rep. Fulcher for leading this important effort and will continue to oppose government efforts to mandate individuals to provide proof of vaccination before participating in their daily lives.”
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (CO-03) commented, “Democrats want to ban voter IDs while mandating vaccine passports. As usual, their policies hurt Americans and strip away our freedom. My passport says I’m an American citizen, and that’s the only passport I need. I strongly oppose any vaccine passport program, since it is an unconstitutional violation of medical privacy, tramples HIPPA regulations, and gives way too much power to big tech.”
Congressman Bob Good (VA-05) commented, “A vaccine passport belongs in Communist China not America, and it is just another step toward giving corporations and the government more control of Americans' daily lives. The private health information of our citizens is none of their government’s business, let alone the concern of corporations not directly involved in providing their healthcare needs. Requiring proof of vaccination is a dangerous road to travel. President Biden should focus his effort and attention on gaining control of our Southern Border, and preventing COVID-infected illegal aliens from entry to our country.”
Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (NM-02) commented, “Vaccines are not mandatory and restricting Americans ability to travel and engage in commerce based upon their personal choice is wrong. I applaud my colleague, Congressman Fulcher, for leading this effort and look forward to working with my colleagues to prevent the implementation of vaccine passports going forward.”
Congressman Ronny Jackson (TX-13) commented, ““It is wildly hypocritical that the Biden Administration would consider vaccine passports for Americans while ignoring the public health crisis they have created at the border by allowing record numbers of illegal immigrants, as many as 25% of whom have COVID-19, to flow into our country. Requiring American citizens to present a vaccine passport to participate in normal life would be an overreach of federal power, and eerily similar to practices associated with authoritarian regimes like Communist China. Vaccine passports would also compromise American’s privacy, something my constituents in TX-13 and I will not stand for.”
Congresswoman Nancy Mace (SC-01) commented, “The mandated use of so-called ‘vaccine passports’ poses a huge risk to the personal liberty and privacy of millions of Americans and could actually discourage people from getting vaccinated against COVID-19. American citizens should never be forced to ‘show their papers’ just to live their everyday lives.”